February 6, 2013 - 17:22 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Leaders of Islamic nations called for a negotiated end to Syria's civil war at a summit in Cairo that began on Wednesday, Feb 6, thrusting Egypt's new Islamist president to center stage amid political and economic turbulence at home, Reuters reported.
The summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation opened on a day when the assassination of a leading Tunisian opposition politician highlighted the fragility of "Arab Spring" democratic revolutions in North Africa.
Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki canceled his trip to the Cairo meeting after Shokri Belaid, a staunch secular opponent of the moderate Islamist government, was shot dead outside his home, triggering street protests.
With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad making an ice-breaking visit to Egypt after 34 years of estrangement, the two-day meeting was focusing on how to stop the bloodshed in Syria, where Tehran is one of President Bashar al-Assad's last allies.
In a keynote address, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi called on "the ruling regime" in Damascus to learn the lessons of history and not put its interests above those of the nation.
Mursi urged all OIC members to support the Syrian opposition's efforts to unite and bring about change.
A communique drafted by OIC foreign ministers and seen by Reuters blames Assad's government for most of the slaughter and urges it to open talks on a political transition.
Diplomats said Iran had objected to the wording and it might be toned down to spread responsibility more evenly.
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the statement had to be adopted by consensus and would stress the need for dialogue and a political solution.
The draft text also urged the opposition Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to speed up the creation of a transitional government "to be ready to assume responsibility in full until the completion of the desired political change process".
Without mentioning Assad, it says: "We urge the Syrian regime to show wisdom and call for serious dialogue to take place between the national coalition of the Syrian revolution, opposition forces, and representatives of the Syrian government committed to political transformation in Syria and those who have not been directly involved in any form of oppression..."